By Ossian Shine
LONDON (Reuters) – If Mats Wilander’s theory on what wins tennis matches is correct, Britain’s Jo Konta could have one hand already on the Wimbledon crown.
Konta has kicked up a gear on the lush lawns of the All England Club and, after beating second seed Simona Halep in the quarters, is looking a great prospect to become the first home women’s champion in 40 years.
“Playing good tennis shots, that’s not really how you win tennis matches,” former world number one Wilander told Reuters.
“Confidence, that’s how you win. Confidence, that’s where you get the trophies.”
Sixth seed Konta certainly seems long on confidence – a confidence that has seen her hit 166 clean winners so far, a women’s draw best, and lead the women’s ace count.
It seems to be a case of joy rather than nerves for the 26-year-old.
“I feel very, very happy and very excited for the battles that I’ve had so far in these Championships,” Konta told reporters after her quarter-final win. “I’ve been involved in some pretty great matches.”
Those matches – her victory over Halep, a three-set win over Caroline Garcia the round before, and a three-set thriller over Donna Vekic – have had the British public enthralled.
With Andy Murray now out of the men’s tournament, the level of support and focus on Konta for her semi-final clash with Venus Williams will be intense to say the least.
That will not bother the Briton, said Wilander, who is in London leading Eurosport’s coverage of the tournament.
“This has been one of those tournaments where you can never say who is the favorite. Players who haven’t been so deep into the grand slam … you don’t know how players will respond. But Jo has proven she loves it.
“Nothing seems to bother her. She has amazing focus, and amazing confidence,” he said.
“You can see her mindset … and her confidence is through the roof.”
(Editing by Alison Williams)